Unhappiness and Suffering

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Distinguished member
Dec 12, 2006
Hello everyone,

Unhappiness is not caused by circumstances. It is caused by your own thoughts.

The essence of your being is not your body or your thoughts. It is the calm, still space in which your thoughts are born.

In any "unacceptable” situation, you have the choice of three rational paths. First, you can take action to work toward correcting the problem. Second, you can walk away, or remove yourself from the situation. Finally, if the first two approaches won't work, you can accept the circumstance as what "is" and stop mentally resisting it. ALS and its symptoms almost always fall into the final category.

To find happiness you must give the present moment permission to be what it is; or if you prefer, "Not my own, but your will be done", or "Let go and let God". To fight the present moment is futile and will only cause your own suffering. Sit back and watch your thought patterns for a while. Don't label them good or bad, just observe them. How do they make you feel?

Who is observing your thoughts?

Your post is so appropriate for something I have been thinking about the last couple of days and you have given me the opportunity to mention it.

Over the last 16 months that I have been having my symptoms I have gone through many stages, most of them despairing. The symptoms have made me feel as if I am suffering and with this I have had emotional outbursts such as crying, once even screaming and crying and being left to ask why and what did I do to deserve this.

Sunday I took my 14 and 15 year olds to church, but I didn't go in because I felt I couldn't manage the hour and my 9 year old was sick, too. After mass we were driving home when my 14-year-old son said, "mom, I wish you could have heard Father W. today. He said it wasn't your fault." He quickly went on to explain that the priest talked about sickness and that it is not something God does to us and it is not because we have done anything wrong. My son said," it's just something that happens to people mom, so please don't think you did things wrong." I was speechless. I needed my young son to bring this message to me. Then I realized how immature I had been, wondering if every bad deed I have committed was why or what makes me different so that I am inflicted with sickness.

Reading this forum and posts such as yours, Mike, has helped me to calm down, gain my composure and realize I need to continue with my life the way it is now. I wanted to share this story, but thought I might seem a little weird. Hopefully I don't and others can sense how I felt. Thanks for sharing your positive thoughts, they mean a lot! Leslie
Hi Leslie,

Thank you for sharing your story. From my observations, the mental anguish that people suffer is the worst part of ALS, but it is also the one component that can be reversed. I think that if more people explain how they overcame psychological sink holes like yours, we can help "cure" the worst symptom of this disease.

hi Leslie

I think your story was great. Of all the people who we know sometimes it is the youth in our world who teach us the most.

Thank you both!

Thank you Mike, and thank you Leslie, for sharing some very important truths. When Jay was first diagnosed with this illness.. I prayed every day when I was out walking, asking God what I was going to do... how I was going to handle this? God's message to me every time I brought this to Him in prayer was, "you have today". It was simple, and it was short, but extremely profound. I cannot change what the illness will do to my husband's body by any large degree, and God won't give me a magic way to look into the future...but I can enjoy the heck out of every day that we have together. I can enjoy THIS moment. ALS has taught us all to live in the moment. Some days it is definitely easier than other days, but every day is a day to be treasured.

MIKE! It was AWESOME to meet you and your lovely wife today. You both are amazing people. Thank you so much for opening your home and sharing some of your life with us! We were profoundly touched... God Bless, Teej
Good thread and very well said, Mike.

This is how I try (emphasis on try) to live my life. Some days are better than others but I find the bad ones becoming fewer and fewer.

It comes down to focus and choice.

We can let ourselves become a victim of sickness or we can accept the facts of our lives and get busy living. Cindy

This disease will consume you if you let it, but it does not have to be that way.This illness is a tough one indeed, but it can be dealt with. I've have had to go deep into my inner soul to survive this mentally and I've become more calm over time. For those who go real fast their is not hardly time to adjust or cope, but for those of us who go slower we have more time to adapt to the stress that our human mind is struggling with daily. Don't get me wrong, though, I do have my days when I crumble, but somehow I make it to a new day! Barry
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

You all are such an inspiration to me and always seem to pull me out of my little pity parties as I wander through the wilderness of emotions and this terrible disease.

Whatever I need to hear to increase or stir my faith, I find here.

I thank God that He uses you and this forum to touch so many lives. I am truly blessed to have found this site and to know you fellow members.

God Bless
Capt AL
We had an incident in my office just this week that demonstrates for me the many ways people can handle bad information, sometimes not always effectively. An older woman in the office left the gas flame burning on the stove all weekend. WHen we arrived on Monday the surrounding counter top and everything on it was hot to the touch!

This woman has been forgetful of a lot lately. So we sat down and calmly explained what we found. She reacted with fear, high anxiety, and anger. This is the very person who tells me not to think about how I will get into our office if I need a walker or chair. She says don't think of bad things or they will happen.

So her plan for forgetting a burning stove is that we should just keep our eyes open and turn it off for her. This plan is wrong on so many counts, but the interesting thing also is how she is dealing-or not-with a potential health issue.

I'd rather face life. Cindy
That's an interesting story Cindy.
One of those 'do as I say, not as I do' moments for that lady, I guess.
The woman has Alzheimer’s, I am sure. The forgetfulness, odd behavior, anxiety and a bunch of other signs point to some sort of dementia. But Quadbliss has a point: we bring some stuff upon ourselves by the thoughts we chose. This lady is faced with a turning point in her life. She can say, “Oh, why me?” or even, “Oh, surely not me!” but neither reaction helps. Much better to find out what is going on, learn all she can about her illness, get her affairs in order, and go enjoy her life.

Saying nothing is wrong only causes her more trouble – some of it potentially life threatening. When my Mom discovered she was untrustworthy she took the knobs off her stove and gave them to my Aunt. That way Mom had a few more months in the home she loved, and with peace of mind.

And Quadbliss is right. Wringing her hands in dismay only brings sadness to herself. Much better to face life! Cindy
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